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UCI Releases Team Ranking, Provisional Licenses

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Ooh là là, this UCI makes my wee brain hurt.

The UCI today confirmed the "ProTeam division 1" licenses of four teams, and the "Professional team division 2" licenses of seven teams. Rabobank, Garmin-Cervélo, OmegaPharma-Lotto, and Sky all received renewals for their "division 1" licenses. Notable among ProContinental licenses, Français des Jeux drops to division 2 due to their low world ranking, while United States teams UnitedHealthCare and Team Type 1 move up from their previous Continental ranking. The new Australian Pegasus team did not make the division 1 cut, though they had previously hoped to join the elite ranks. Do refer to the press release for the full teams list.

Significantly, the press release no longer uses the ProTour designation for the top teams. Rather, the UCI renames the top fifteen teams "ProTeam Division 1." The UCI determines the ranking based upon results obtained in 2009 and 2010 by the top 15 riders on the team's 2011 roster. Got that? Top 15 riders on the roster, results from the past two seasons. Lose a big star? Drop down the rankings. Only the top 15 teams hold division 1 status. Teams ranked between 16th and 20th in the rankings will receive a second look, but ProTeam status is limited to 18 teams. Below 20th? Try again next year.

The current ranking places Euskaltel-Euskadi, Geox-TMC, Quick Step, Cofidis, and AG2R-La Mondiale on the qualification bubble. The new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project (snappy name, really) tops the rankings. A couple surprises: Vacansoleil sits 12th and Movistar 14th. Team BMC grabs the final automatic spot at 15th.

According to the UCI, the rankings will determine which teams will ride the major races. It remains to be seen if this scheme actually happens, as the race organizers have not always followed the UCI's play book. The Giro d'Italia, for one, mentioned during their route announcement that they had not decided who would ride next year's race. We'll see what the UCI has to say about all that.

Yes! UCI rules, my favorite!